Notting Hill star John Shrapnel dies aged 77

British actor John Shrapnel has died at the age of 77 after suffering from cancer.

He was celebrated for his theatre work as a member of the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He featured in films including Notting Hill, in which he memorably played Julia Roberts’ character’s publicist, Gladiator, Troy and 101 Dalmations.

Well known for his voiceover work, he also appeared in TV shows such as Inspector Morse, Waking the Dead, Foyle’s War and Bodyguards.


His final TV role was in the small screen adaptation of Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III, in which he played the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The National Theatre paid tribute to the actor in a tweet, writing: “We’re very sad to hear that the wonderful actor John Shrapnel has died.

“He performed in many productions at the National Theatre including Phedre - our first @NTLive production.”

Richard E. Grant was among the famous names to share their condolences, writing on Twitter: “Sad to learn that John Shrapnel has died. I played his patient in HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING (1989).

“Generous, kind, funny and warm hearted. Privileged to have known and worked with him.”

Actress Maxine Peake shared a photo of her with Shrapnel, who she starred alongside in Hamlet, writing: “We have lost another great. The incomparable John Shrapnel.

“Honoured to have worked with him. Privileged to have called him a friend.”

Director Duncan Jones recalled how Shrapnel had agreed to star in one of his early projects “just after I left film school.”

“Just received news that the tremendous British actor John Shrapnel has passed away,” he wrote on Twitter.

“John was one of a handful of actors, far too talented for my early career, to agree to work with me just after I left film school.

“I made a short film called Whistle, and he agreed to spend a day working on it, elevating my short into something I was later able to enter in festivals & leverage into real, paid work.

“John was RSC trained, had the most wonderful, richly honeyed voice, & was a delightful, generous person in my experience. Thank you, John.”

Shrapnel is survived by wife Francesca Bartley and their three sons, Joe, Lex and Tom Shrapnel.